Life sentence for fatal shooting
A man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting a man in the back of the neck because he refused to leave his apartment.
Peter Donnelly (52), Larch Hill Apartments, Santry, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Edward Flanagan (49) on June 16th, 2011. He had also admitted possession of a Baikal 9mm automatic pistol and three rounds of .38 calibre ammunition on June 15th, 2011, although he had denied these charges at the start of the trial.
The jury returned an 11 to one majority guilty verdict after five hours and 20 minutes. Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jurors for their attention before exempting them from further service for life.
He sentenced Donnelly to life imprisonment for the murder and five years on each of the other counts to run concurrently. He backdated it to June 16th for time spent in custody.
The court heard that Donnelly and Mr Flanagan were drinking in a field behind Belcamp College in Coolock with two other men on the day of the incident. They later went to Donnelly’s home to continue drinking and they watched two films.
When the films had finished, they listened to the radio and Mr Flanagan and Donnelly started dancing.
Gary McMahon, one of the other men in the apartment, said an argument started. He said Donnelly was running around slagging Mr Flanagan and he recalled him saying he would shoot him.
Mr McMahon said Donnelly walked around the back of the couch, put a gun to Mr Flanagan’s head and was shouting in a rage in an English accent just before he shot him.
Gardaí had to force open the door of the apartment and emergency services failed to revive him. When Mr Flanagan was found he had no top on and he was holding a can of Dutch Gold lager beer. Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar said the gun was placed at Mr Flanagan’s neck, describing it as an “almost hard contact”.
Donnelly went to Coolock Garda station voluntarily the next day and told them he had discharged the gun.
The trial had also heard from witnesses that Donnelly had changed his clothes and cleaned himself up in another man’s house after the incident.
Donnelly had told gardaí that Mr Flanagan had brought the gun to his apartment but he later admitted that he had the gun himself.
Det Garda Shay Woods told Eileen O’Leary SC, prosecuting, that Donnelly has 33 previous convictions including road traffic offences, larceny, intoxication and disorderly behaviour. He was separated with four children and worked as a labourer on building sites.
Mr Justice Carney said no motive had emerged during the course of the trial. Det Garda Woods told the judge it appeared Donnelly wanted the people out of his apartment and that they were refusing to leave.
Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, said it was out of character for his client, who was “genuinely sorry”.